By Kehinde Oluwatayo
The benefits of meat to human cannot be overemphasized. Apart from its sweet taste,it is rich in protein which is essential for growth, maintenance and repair of the body and can also provide energy. Red meat contains, on average, 20-24g of protein per 100g (When raw), while cooked red meant contains 27-35g of protein per 100g (cooked weight).
Red meat is an important dietary source of minerals, in particular zinc and iron. Zinc among other benefits is needed for immune function, wound healing, blood clot, thyroid function and much more while iron carries life-giving oxygen to human blood cells. It is equally required for the production of red blood cells and is also part of hemoglobin, a protein in blood cells.
Also, red meat contains a variety of vitamins particularly vitamin B3 (niacin),B6 and vitamin B12.
Red meat equally contains fat and many more nutrients which are beneficial to human body.
In a nutshell, most healthy balanced diets will include meat in moderate amount and it will be an understatement to say people consume meat very well particularly now that the price of fish has risen.
As beneficial as meat is to human, it has been recognized as a disease conveying agent. Findings have shown that 70 percent of disease of man are traceable to animal (WHO).
Apart from the disease that animal itself is carrying, the way and manner by which it is slaughtered and processed can increase the incidences of meat contamination.
Speaking recently, President, Veterinary Council of Nigeria and Provost of Federal College of Animal Production and Health Vom, Jos, Prof Garuba Sharubutu said the newly commissioned semi mechanized abattoir will demystify the outbreak of meat borne disease and that as professionals, the council has on different occasions advised governments to construct modern abattoirs in different parts of the country to reduce incidences of meat- borne disease
The idea of establishing a modern abattoir in Akure by the Ondo State Government was first conceived in 1983 with the acquisition of 18 hectares of land for both the abattoir and cattle market project on the outskirts of Akure metropolis along Ado road.
The cattle market project took off in 1985 but the abattoir project could not take off due to paucity of fund. In 2001, contract for the construction of the semi-mechanised abattoir was awarded but the contract was terminated in 2004 due to the contractor’s incompetence.
In 2010, the present administration of Governor Olusegun Mimiko revisited the project and came up with a reviewed semi-mechanised abattoir design that will deliver humane slaughtering and wholesome meat in a hygienic and environmentally friendly manner based on compliance with meat processing international best practices and standards.
In 2011, the contract was rewarded with the main abattoir project awarded to SCNC Technologies Nig. Ltd while other components of the project were awarded to other reputable companies with mandate to deliver the following.
1) A two –shed 300 capacity lairage
2) Administrative block
3) Well equipped quality control laboratory
4) A 20 cubic meter capacity cold- room
5) Manure dump
8) A 500KVA soundproof generator
9) A 60KVA soundproof generator
10)11,000 ltr/hr combined capacity boreholes
11) 2 Nos 250,000 ltrs combined capacity overhead as water storage tank
12) A 200 cubic meters capacity underground water storage R/C tank
13) Public Toilets
14) A 10-ton capacity meat delivery truck with refrigerating facility.
15) A 10 ton capacity effluent treatment /disposal truck
16) A good network of asphalt paved, and access and internal roads with R/C lined drains and raised pedestrian walk ways.
17) Truck and car parks
18) A beautifully landscaped serene premises with a 2.6 meter tall perimeter fence etc.
The over three decade desired facility was however completed and commissioned recently with dignitaries from all walks of life in attendance.
The Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh who was the Guest of Honour at the event commended the resolve of the Ondo State Government to build an abattoir of World Health Organisation (WHO) standard.
Speaking on the health benefits of the facility, Ogbeh who was represented by the State Director of Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs Funke Omagbemi said it holds the key in the provision of hygienically processed meat which will enhance good and healthy eating habit.
The process through which the animal is slaughtered contributes a great deal to the hygiene of the meat. The animal will first be kept in the lairage i.e shelf to rest for at least 24hours where it can not be fed but can be given water. This will prevent it from the harsh weather, reduce glycogen and make the meat fresh.
Before the animal leaves the lairage, physical examination will be carried out . The eyes, nose, ears will be examined to ensure there is no discharge of any form. Every other part of the body will also be examined. Clinical examination will also be carried out by veterinary inspector at the laboratory i.e the anti motem examination . The animal is however tagged, to ensure it is fit for slaughter.
Also the life weight of the animal will be taken at the weigh bridge which is situated within the lairage.
After the life weight of the animal has been checked, it will be moved to a washing place where it will be washed. There is another chemicalised water to clean the feet of the animal before it is slaughtered and from there it is moved to the corridor of no return.
When the animal leaves the corridor of no return, it moves to the stunning box and it is rendered unconscious through a captive boat gun which will be shot at its head. After that it will be dragged out and slaughtered through Allah method which is why it is described as a humane way of killing since the animal will not know or struggle when the head is cut off. When the animal is killed the meat will again be taken to the laboratory to a post motem examination.
The Akure semi-mechanised abattoir has seven lines for slaughter and is capable of processing 200 animals in four hours making it possible for the facility to successfully serve Akure and its environs.
Commending the state government for the feat, representative of the President of Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association, Dr. Tunji Nasir lauded the Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko for his responsiveness to the health of the people of the state.
According to him, going by the statistics of the World Health Organisation (WHO), 70 percent of the diseases of man are traceable to animal adding that Governor Mimiko has succeeded in reducing the disease of the people.
Speaking on the economic benefits of the facility, Ogbeh said the project is a beacon of hope to the economic revival of the state. He described it as timely particularly now that the nation is diversifying from an economy dependent on oil to other critical sectors like agriculture.
He said further that the facility will provide job opportunity for those who will be directly involved as well as other markets which its presence will attract.
The Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade Aladelusi said Dr Olusegun Mimiko had done marvelously and that his signature can not be erased in health, education, agriculture, infrastructure among others.
The duo of Pa Reuben Fasorant and Pa Ayo Adebanjo who are leaders of Afenifere while speaking on the projects described Mimiko as a man full of surprises. They described him as a good manager of resources and one who shared the philosophy of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo saying his actions are commendable.
In a welcome address, the Permanent Secretary of the Ondo State Ministry of Agriculture, Engr. Alex Aragbaiye said a new dawn of hygienic processing and provision of wholesome meat has come to stay in the state through the dogged determination of Dr. Olusegun Mimiko.
According to him, the governor refused to yield to stories of mysteries surrounding the project but decided to break the jinx and saw the project to a logical conclusion.
Aragbaiye who said the project will ensure that animals are slaughtered and processed under humane and hygienic conditions noted that incidence of meat contamination at processing stage will reduce and consequently reduce the incidence of meat borne diseases in Akure and its environment.
The President, Ondo State National Butchers Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Ashimiu Tella commended the effort of the Governor and expressed the readiness of his association to take over the facility.
Addressing the crowd at occasion, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko emphasized the need for a modern abattoir to give way for more hygienic meat for human consumption to eradicate avoidable diseases.
He said abattoir represents one of his administration’s legacies in the state and that all the butchers in the state were adequately carried along in the process of building and concession of the project.
Mimiko who noted that the new abattoir will open up socio-economic development in Akure and its environs said it was semi-mechnised so as to be religiously –complaint for the Muslim community.
The Director of Veterinary Service, Ondo State Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Felix Akingbade enjoined the citizens of the state who want to slaughter animals for celebration to patronize the facility. He said slaughtering animals in their environment will mess up their environment but if they come to the facility, the waste will be managed for them by the abattoir attendants.
He said the cost is affordable and even cheaper than the current price to make it accessible for everyone.
Also speaking on the socio-economic benefit of the facility, he said it will create job as many people will work directly in the place while some markets will spring up as a result of its presence there. He said more people including graduates will be attracted to meat business unlike before when it was regarded as a backward business meant for dirty men and women.
Apart from providing job directly, Akingbade said the horns, manure, hoove and other parts of the animal which hitherto were regarded as waste will be turned to wealth as it will serve as raw materials for small scale industries that produce feed meal for livestock.
The project when fully put to use will serve as the only abattoir in Akure and its environs as all local slabs will be collapsed to give way for the new abattoir.
Dignitaries at the event included the wife of the Governor, Mrs Olukemi Mimiko, members of the state executive council led by the Deputy Governor, Alhaji Lasisi Oluboyo, Minister of Agriculture represented by the State Director Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs Funke Omagbemi, Leader of Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti and Pa Ayo Adebanjo.
Others are: Members of the state House of Assembly led by the Deputy Speaker, Rt Hon Fatai Olotu, Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade Aladelusi, spiritual leaders among others.